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The Librarian's Guide to Gaming:

An Online Toolkit for Building Gaming ala @your library  logo



Dr. Scott Nicholson"Games of every type play an important role in developing fundamental competencies for life. They require players to learn and follow complex sets of rules, make strategic and tactical decisions, and, increasingly, collaborate with teammates and others: all things they will have to do in college and in the workforce."

~Jim Rettig
ALA President, 2008-2009
Boatright Memorial Library
University of Richmond
Richmond, VA


Why Gaming @ the library?

In 2007, over 404 libraries responded to a national library gaming gaming census, reporting on 218 programs. On November 15 2008, 597 libraries reported on serving 14,184 gamers on National Gaming Day. Gaming services epitomize library as third place, creating a community gathering spot between home and work/school. That third place encourages play, socialization, and cultural enrichment. Libraries looking for ways to reach beyond their traditional patron base are turning to gaming.

Board games, card games, and videogames are, in essence, information, and the human act of telling stories, presented in new formats that involve the player. Games may fulfill a library’s mission to provide cultural, recreational, and entertaining materials; to provide academic curriculum support; or to provide resources and support their industry or profession.

This toolkit, compiled with resources, tips, and best practices from expert librarians who deliver exemplary gaming services, is a jumping off point for all types of libraries, serving members of all ages.


A Welcome, and Orientation to the Librarian's Guide to Gaming

by Beth Gallaway

(video transcript)

What is the Connection Between Literacy and Gaming?

More about the gaming and literacy connection can be found on the Literacy 101 page, and each model program has literacy components as well.

As new technologies, tools and toys have burgeoned over the last 20 years so has our understanding of what constitutes literacy. Libraries of all types have provided collections, programs and services in support of these traditional literacy skills for centuries. Today, concepts of literacy include digital, information and communication technology (ICT), media, programming, and visual.

Reading and understanding information is still vital, but so is evaluating and thinking critically in the multiple literacies just listed.

Libraries of all types promote the development of these literacy skills in numerous ways: information literacy classes in colleges and universities, gaming programs to promote problem solving and the development of higher order thinking skills, and services that improve technical and literary fluency. Regardless of the type of service libraries may provide, they are all important in strengthening these multiple literacies. Gaming in its various forms presents an additional service that supports and strengthens these literacies.


  That Was Then: A brief history of gaming in libraries.

This Is Now:
A snapshot of gaming in libraries today.


Talking Points: Connecting games & literacy.

Tools to measure your success.

  First Steps:
Easy, low-cost models for beginners

Next Steps:
Models large in scope and scale.

Gaming @ your library is an initiative of the American Library Association.
This initiative is generously funded by the Verizon Foundation